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Do-it-yourself analytics

This article appears in the issue April 2012 [Volume 21, Issue 4]

A quick glance at the Industry Snapshot (chart) on page one, KMWorld, Vol 21, Issue 4 clearly shows that big data-related revenues are growing at an astounding pace. Wikibon, an open-source community of analysts and users sharing information, predicts a tenfold increase between 2011 and 2017. (It's worth noting that big data is a very general term; in fact, Gartner, uses "extreme information.") And as the revenue grows, so, too, will the volume of data. Wikipedia reports the amount of information that can be effectively shared by the telecommunications networks grew from 281 petabytes in 1986 to an estimated 667 exabytes next year.

Insight's attributes

So, as these datasets grow increasingly massive, the need for agile analytics will, too. Enter Cognos, which is part of IBM's Business Analytics division,  and TM1 10, its performance management solution.  A compelling element of IBM Cognos TM1 10 is Insight, which gives individual users, especially non-spreadsheet users, access to TM1 10. The company explains users can pull data of their choice onto the desktop (from, say, managed or personal sources and without the assistance of IT) and build plan prototypes with personalized dimensions and hierarchies and run what-if scenarios on the plan data.

IBM further elaborates on Insight's features:

  • "what-if" scenario modeling, which enables users to analyze and optimize plans based on different assumptions that take into account ever-changing market conditions.
  • an in-memory analytic engine-permits importing, combining and enriching data without scripting, enabling users to connect to local files, databases, existing business intelligence reports and predictive data.
  • custom dashboards and visualizations-allow control over the look and feel, enabling users to easily add charts, supporting text and images, and even content from the Web; give users the ability to perform exception highlighting or traffic lights, simplifying the task of comparing data on the fly, making it easy to demonstrate exceptions in the data.
  • collaboration and publishing capabilities-permit users to share reports and analysis with others in the workgroup or across the organization. Insight easily extends to other IBM Business Analytics capabilities, including the IBM Cognos Mobile app for the iPad.

IBM is also creating a new Web community built specifically for IBM Cognos Insight users, which will include video tutorials, discussion forums and a number of examples of applications.


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